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Canto USA’s RETRO Series Becomes the Big Star at Charleston Gaillard Center

Jason Reeves - VP of Marketing

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November 9, 2021

Construction of the new Charleston Gaillard Center in South Carolina began in August of 2012 and was finished in October of 2015. The new Gaillard Center features the 1,800-seat Martha and John M. Rivers Performance Hall, a 15,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom space, and three floors of City offices. One of the City’s most notable spaces, the Charleston Gaillard Center is a non-profit that provides the Lowcountry with a world-class performance hall, elegant venue space, and vibrant educational opportunities.

Recently the Center updated their lighting system with Canto USA’s RETRO Series. We reached out to Daniel Grummer, Facilities Manager for the Gaillard Center, to see how the RETRO Series worked out for them.

What prompted the Center to upgrade their lighting?

Since the renovation in 2015, the Charleston Gaillard Center’s Martha and John M. Rivers Performance Hall’s fixtures have required two a-style bulbs. We were changing bulbs before every event, and with 91 fixtures and 182 bulbs, replacing bulbs just inside the performance hall took an hour or so. 

What made your dealer recommend and help you choose the RETRO series for the job?

Before I left Charleston Southern University, I oversaw a LED retrofit performed by Productions Unlimited, Inc., which utilized the Canto USA RETRO LEDs. When we had the opportunity to upgrade the house lighting at the Gaillard Center, I knew RETRO was the best choice for a state-of-the-art facility. I reached out to PUI to see if custom-built RETRO fixtures were an option, and they took the project from there.

What were some of the challenges?

Some of the last ETC Sinewave dimmers ever installed were the 3 for house and theatrical lighting for our symphony shows at the Gaillard Center. While the demo of a fixture worked great, as we got the last few fixtures installed, we noticed a few were not constantly dimming. We discovered the Sinewave dimmers were causing interference, and we decided to move the LED circuits to a Sensor rack with D20 modules. 

What were some of the customizations that had to be done?

The fixture design is pretty shallow, but Productions Unlimited made a custom laser-cut aluminum plate that Canto USA mounted the LED components onto, allowing them to just swap out the old fixture’s interior with just 4 screws, while allowing the decorative ring and globe to remain.  

How long did the installation take?

The install took about a week as hunting down the dimmer issue was difficult; it affected different fixtures at different times. 

What was everybody’s initial reaction when the job was done?

We were relieved to not be replacing light bulbs before every event! To the average person, you cannot tell a difference in the lighting in the theater. But for those who noticed the shadows and the filament that projected on the glass, it is night and day.

How does everybody feel about how the RETRO is performing in the space?

The staff are all very pleased with the performance and output of the fixtures. We look forward to our larger capacity events returning for patrons to enjoy the new lighting as well. 

Charleston Gaillard Center Canto USA Box

The RETRO Series Line of Products

RETRO-Classic™ – Flexibility & Customization

CantoUSA RETRO-Classic Series Product Photo

The RETRO-Classic our original 0-100% phase dimmable (forward and reverse) variable wattage LED 2700K-6500K 80-97 CRI engine retrofit house light and most customizable RETRO in the entire RETRO family. They are heavier than the Fusion, yet lighter than Passive.

RETRO-Fusion™ – Lighter & Smaller

CantoUSA RETRO-Fusion Series Product Photo

With the RETRO-Fusion being lighter and lower profile, along with a beveled top edge, it is able to squeeze into more shallow fixtures without having the lens protrude from the front of the trim ring. That reduces any type of glare. This new design opens up more opportunities and applications.

RETRO-Passive® – Absolute Silence

CantoUSA RETRO-Passive Series Product Photo

Being fanless, the RETRO-Passive is perfect for sound-sensitive spaces like museums and concert halls. They also have heavier heat sinks to compensate for not having active cooling.

RETRO-PAR – PAR Lamp Replacement

CantoUSA RETRO-Par Series Product Photo

The RETRO-PAR is easy to replace/install, modular, and customizable. Customizable features include active or passive cooling, different wattage outputs, and different optical beam spreads. It comes in PAR 38, 46, 56, and 64 styles, as well as custom.


CantoUSA RETRO-HPL Product Photo

The RETRO-HPL is a direct replacement for existing Source 4 PARs in the marketplace, especially those used for house lights.

About CantoUSA

Founded in 2013, Canto USA is a manufacturer of houselight retrofits and followspots. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to our mission: “Our customers come first. In order to do this, we continuously train our team on the latest trends and needs of the industry, while at the same time becoming a trendsetter in the development of new products and technology that no other company has available.” 

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